20th July 2023    |    Insights

Are Friends Electric?

We are living in an exciting time, a time of considerable change – in the way we work, embrace technology and navigate a fast-evolving business and economic landscape. Against this backdrop, technological advancements such as AI and machine learning are gaining greater influence and playing a significant role in reshaping working practices across various industries. 

Businesses of a variety of different sectors and sizes have the opportunity to leverage AI to improve and accelerate their workflows. By integrating AI with other apps, systems, and tools, businesses can streamline their operations and achieve considerable efficiencies. But we also must acknowledge that this is very early days for AI; it is evolving rapidly and like any great technological advancement we have to accept there are limitations.

The integration of AI across various different systems, apps and tools provides the ability to connect and assimilate large amounts of information quickly and efficiently. We have experienced this first hand at Allies Group, by exploring how AI can help integrate with customer onboarding, through connecting our systems, setting up tasks and requirements and providing automated updates for both our people and clients. 

Additionally, we have trialled and tested apps such as Fireflies and its assistant ‘Fred’, which offers note-taking facilities that can be integrated into other systems, connecting our work processes. While Fred proves to be powerful, capturing the essence of a meeting very effectively (particularly those that run for a considerable period of time) it also has its limitations. Fred can experience challenges when accurately identifying names and comments in meetings if there are multiple voices talking simultaneously – not an uncommon meeting activity!

As a content marketing specialist we have found that ChatGPT doesn’t yet fit into our ideology around content generation and editorial. It may present some administrative benefits, acting not unlike a virtual assistant – amalgamating a lot of disparate material (although this needs to be fact checked). It has research capabilities too and we have explored this, but again cross referencing is important to establish facts. From an editorial and editing perspective though, as content specialists, our publications; our clients and our varied channels of communication require different tones of voice and personalities. These we believe require dedicated editorial expertise to maintain that brand identity. 

Using AI across different systems can automate tasks as simple as sending emails or as complex as updating records in a database – proving it has a varied range of capabilities. Data is key and the ability of AI and machine learning to assimilate lots of it, digesting it and organising it into manageable chunks,clearly has its uses.  

In addition, integrating systems using AI allows data to flow between various platforms such as Google Forms, email, Web APIs and other task-management tools (and of course Fireflies and Fred as we’ve discussed) meaning intelligence can be shared across a business quickly. 

Creating a visual flowchart of the automation process helps outline individual tasks and how they are connected, helping to create an integrated and cohesive set of work systems everyone has the opportunity to buy into. That cannot be a bad thing either. But it is critical to test each task individually before implementation, to ensure expected functionality and identify potential bugs or problems.

To summarise, while AI automation has huge potential, it is essential to acknowledge its limitations. As AI continues to evolve, the capabilities of AI automation tools will expand, enabling them to handle more complex tasks and deliver even greater efficiencies. Businesses have a role to keep up to date with the changing landscape, staying informed about the latest developments to maximise the potential AI brings to our daily working practices. This is all about working smarter, but we as humans have to be just as smart in our application of technology.